Category Archives: My Thoughts

ASUS RT-AC66U Review Part 1 : Hello 802.11ac

Router is no doubt an essential in our home especially with the growing number of gadgets we have (Tablets , Laptops , Smartphones , Gaming Consoles , Smart TV). It’s no longer a luxury and with the emergence of high speed Internet access and the demand from consumers to stream HD content – hence it has become an essential equipment in our home network.

ASUS RT-AC66U Box
ASUS RT-AC66U Box – “The next generation router”

This is where ASUS RT-AC66U comes into play. If you have a huge home network which consists of HTPC (Home Theatre PC) , Tablets , Computers , Smartphones , Gaming Console and everything-else). I’ll be taking a look a the ASUS RT-AC66U , to determine if it is worthy 802.11ac router that is capable of meeting.

As usual , this review would be split into several paths. This is the first part which basically covers of what is inside the box , ease of use and the features that comes along

Continue reading ASUS RT-AC66U Review Part 1 : Hello 802.11ac

Automated SCP Copy Script (with Wake-On-LAN)

As some of you may know currently I have a file server and a download server. The file server has a script that checks if anyone is connected if not , it goes to sleep. It can be waken via Wake-on-Lan. This is to reduce power consumption , as due to electricity tariffs which are going up in 2014 (that is in Malaysia). My File Server consumes about 60-70W of energy when it is idling. When it is asleep it only consumes about 2W 

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My Torrent Server on the other hand consumes about 20W (It’s a little machine that runs on Intel Atom 330) and has a 80GB of Storage. Basically I use it to download things from Deluge.

The problem is that once the file has been downloaded , I would have to move the files manually from my torrent server to my file server . It’s painful – I’ve to ssh over , scp and rm the files once it is done. It is becoming more and more troublesome when you have a large files to copy over – especially downloading movies

ssh [email protected]
cd /downloads/
scp -r file [email protected]:/largeHD/media/
rm file

This is what i generally do . What’s worst is that if my file server is sleeping , I would have to issue a wake on lan command to activate it. Also I’ll have to change the destination every time based on the type of file , as i’ve my file server organised !

Continue reading Automated SCP Copy Script (with Wake-On-LAN)

EDID Override for HDTV to Solve Passthrough

Recently I bought a new SAMSUNG 5-Series LED TV. It’s great in sense that it has a SPDIF/Out (compared to my old Panasonic HDTV) , it’s mcuh more lighter and it’s a SmartTV.

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As you do know that I use HTPC to play back videos from the internet and all and currently the configuration is setup as Video to HDMI and Audio via SPDIF/out to my Amplifier. The reason for this setup is being that my previous HDTV did not have any Digital Out. But this current Television does support it.

So I’ve decided to connect the Toslink cable from my HTPC to my TV instead so that my HDTV can make use of the amplifier , thus making it easier for any devices to output 5.1 surroundsound. Unforutantely , this setup did not work very well with my PC.

The reason being is that moment I plugged in my HDMI Cable , Windows did detect it’s a HDTV and only offered 2.1 Audio. It did not offer Dolby Digital/DTS pass-through which means that if I play back a Dolby Digital 5.1 , it would not output correctly to my Surround. Of course other systems like xbox , STB are able to do this correctly moment you set the correct output

However in Windows (and with NVIDIA) it was not possible to bypass this. It would read EDID information from the TV. Thankfully there is a method which allows you to bypass that. This person has written a guide on how to do that , step-by-step instructions on how to do it

It works great with NVIDIA Cards a well , it’s just that after you have done the configuration you may have to re-install NVIDIA Drivers to correctly detect your Audio output 🙂

 

Let me know if it works for you

Comparison Between IPV4 & IPV6 [UniFi]

Recently , TM decided to roll out native IPV6 for its users. Currently UniFi and Streamyx users are able to get IPV6 Addresses if their ‘port’ supports it. In this article , basically we would take a look if there are any advantages of using IPV6 over IPV4 currently.

 

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I’ll be taking a look at everyday usage to see if there is an improvement in our Internet Usage. Keep in mind that this is not a full technical test , I’ll be just doing simple tests and observations on TM’s IPV6 . I will be also giving you a brief explanation of IPV6 and the advantages .

More after the jump

Continue reading Comparison Between IPV4 & IPV6 [UniFi]

[Guide] Backing up your WordPress to Dropbox

Recently my site was down and it appears that my old hosting provider – XenServ , decided to bid farewell to their business and poof there goes my site along with it. I thought I had lost it all , this is because the only cPanel backup , I had was dated somewhere in December 2012. But little did I know that I’ve had installed an addon called WordPress Backup to Dropbox.

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It’s a nifty addon that actually backups your wordpress (your whole site including pictures , posts , addons and what-not) along with the database to dropbox and best of all ,I don’t have to worry about running it manually , it runs automatically at a configured. The problem with backup is that you need to take the pro-active step of doing it weekly/monthly or daily but with this – I do not have to worry at all , it just does by itself. The nice thing about this addon is that it uses Dropbox oauth – which means that you authenticate the application and it does not store your username/password – much like how Twitter/Facebook oauth works.

Continue reading [Guide] Backing up your WordPress to Dropbox

Lesssons to Learn from Maybank new UI Change

Recently Maybank decided to give a brand new look to their site , which was a surprise -because the new UI is based on Metro-style (a la Windows 8/Windows Phone).

Opps ! That's broken
Opps ! That’s broken

Things went really bad for Maybank. This caused a big hoo-ha in the social media . By just checking out the official Maybank Facebook Page or simply going to twitter by searching for Maybank. You’ll notice the whole bunch lot of complains (read more after the jump)

There is a good article that was written by Kugan on his take on what went wrong based on his experience as a Web-Designer.

But I’m not a Web Designer , but however this is my take on what went wrong and what could have been improved  :-

1. Wrong Timing to Roll-Out New Design

I’m not sure what the folks in Maybank was thinking – were they out of their minds ?  They rolled out on the busiest period – which happens to be the end of the week and end of the month of November 2013 . Of course as a customer , I would be extremely pissed if I was not able to check in my accounts to determine if my salary has banked in , to pay bills and basically to use the online service. This caused a lot of people to take their anger and frustration to social media !

2. Testing & Testing and More Testing 

The site was pretty buggy and it seems that it was in a rush. I am guessing this is probably due to pressure from top management. It happens to all the projects , when a project gets delayed and delayed. Top Management would start to pressure the project team to get it delivered as soon as possible. I’m guessing that is why they decided to roll out a half-cooked site out – but sadly that did not turn out very well as eventually they had to roll-back.

I do hope when they re-launch the new verison , more extensive testing would be done. Even better , Maybank if you are reading this get your customers to test out. Allow them to opt in to test out your site and maybe in return award them with something like a small token , treatpoints. This way you get actual feedback from actual users on which parts of the sites were good , bad and that can be improved. Based on the feedback , you could improvise the site.

3. KISS (Keep It Simple , Stupid !) Principle 

I am not sure what they were thinking when they launched the new UI. To be honest , I am not a big fan of Metro UI especially for a banking site. If you take a look at banking sites worldwide – Bank of America , ANZ  , DBS Singapore . Notice the similarities , they are simply straight forward to use. You don’t have fancy buttons , fancy things. This makes it easier to navigate compared to the Metro UI which they had launched. It was a bit confusing , because it involved a steep learning curve. People who were so used to the system (like me) find it bit hard to navigate the site which makes it frustrating . Try to keep the same UX experience , people are used to like Kugan pointed out in his article and build on top of that

Not everything was bad. There were couple of good things too

4. Handling customers

There are some positive things that I would like to say about the experience. Despite the hiccups from the web-site . The social media team that responded to my tweets when I was ranting. Even at late night , they were actually responding to customers complain. Sure they can’t do much to fix the problem , but at least they are responding.

I do know of some companies which wouldn’t bother to respond.

 

Here are my personal thoughts on moving forward. If you are from Maybank – please jot this down  :-

1. Keep two designs , let customers to choose and be sure to inform customers before. Probably by publishing in newspapers , social media and not to mention on your Website. Give your customers the option – new UI or old UI. Let the customers pick

2. Try to minimize downtime when migrating. I noticed it was all messy (probably it was on the same server). You may want to put it in another server all-together. So that if something goes wrong , switching back and forth would be much much more easier !

3. Get feedbacks from customers especially on the new design. Ask your customers to try the new UI and reward them with treatpoints or probably some freebies. Get in a group of beta testers or ask your customers to opt in

4. Test , Test , Test…Test in different devices , different platform and not to mention on legacy device . Get those bugs fixed before rolling out to customers !

Lastly , please do remember the 80/20 rule , Maybank 🙂

[Giveaway] Game of your choice

The great folks over at Cheap Digital Download, decided to sponsor a giveaway and I’m trilled to host it. We are giving you a chance to take your pick. That’s great , any game that you want from never-ending list of collection in Cheap Digital Download. If you’re that lucky winner , that particular game is yours !

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Who knows ,  you could probably walkaway with the latest AAA title out there for your PC , that you always wanted to but couldn’t able to afford it

More after the jump 🙂

Continue reading [Giveaway] Game of your choice

Xperia E Comparison with DiGi and Maxis

This is a honest comparison on price , plan and coverage and my thoughts of it. I am not reviewing the phone itself but I am more covering on the plan to see which one is bang for buck. Since Hari Raya (Eid) is around the corner in Malaysia , and people would be shopping for gifts and such. I thought why don’t we take a look at these two devices offered by two different telcos

Sony-Xperia-E

The Xperia E is an entry-level smartphone. It retails about RM 499 , and it comes with 3.2MP camera , Android ‘Jelly Bean’ , Touch Screen , Sony Audio. Pretty much it is a basic entry phone that is good for people who do not want to pay a lot of money for an expensive smartphone. More after the jump

Continue reading Xperia E Comparison with DiGi and Maxis

Building a Home Server/HTPC – Part 2 (Picking the right OS)

This is continuation of my epic guide writing a step-by-step guide for Malaysians (and people from other countries too) on building their own Home Server/HTPC or something in-between. If you have not read my first part , kindly do so by clicking here

In this part , I would be focusing on the software aspect. Assuming that you have built your HTPC/Home Server or a hybrid. Now we want to get it to run. There are two options that we can go for either taking the Windows route or taking the Linux route. I’ll briefly explain pros and cons for each of the routes.

Continue reading Building a Home Server/HTPC — Part 2 (Picking the right OS)

A Closer look at HyppTV for Streamyx & Mobile Devices

I was fortunate enough to be invited to TM’s exclusive preview for bloggers on their next big thing – which was HyppTV for Streamyx and for Mobile Devices. I am not going to bore you with the details , but what I am here is to share few nifty things on HyppTV for STB

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TM is conducting trial runs for 8Mbps Streamyx users as we speak. The new STB (Setup box) has a WiFi card built in and as well supports regular ethernet connection . The setup box is much smaller compared to last time , but what attracted me is that the new box runs on Android

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Yep , that’s right. I was amazed that TM decided to go with Android or linux instead of using some proprietary software . They have got this right – kudos. I’ll explain further on how probably TM (hope if they are reading this) can improve this new HyppTV and take it to the next level

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The box itself has USB ports (you are able to connect USB drives , keyboard  and mouse and it works) , you have SPDIF/Out , HDMI , Ethernet connection and as well as WiFi

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It also allows you to playback various different file formats. Yes 3GP is included and you know what that means right *wink* *wink* . It also supports mkv up to 1080p. So it doubles as a media entertainment box for you to playback movies. I am not sure if it supports DLNA that allows you stream content from your PC to the STB.

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The device itself has 1GB of flash space , this is used for the OS and for TM to push new updates to the device.

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Yes they have a few applications installed – mainly Calculator , E-mail and Internet Browser

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The Internet Browser is the default browser (Chrome) that you get with Android phones .

Now I am not going to go much on HyppTV for mobile , but they have done a pretty amazing job that allows you to change channels on the fly without needing to go back and change. I’ll try to review it later if I get the chance

Now if folks from TM are reading this , there are few suggestions from me in order to make HyppTV the next-big-thing

1. Open up the market – kudos on using Android. Now get local developers (I mean Malaysian)  to develop applications. I think developing for Android is pretty easy thus allowing them to easily port it to HyppTV. This means that people can enjoy apps that they use in the phone as well. If possible get Google Play Store or probably come up with your own play store . Another example is would be for Muslims whereby it would send out push notification on prayer times which maybe handy dandy – i know such app exists in Android eco-system , bring it to the big screen 🙂  [UPDATE – Looks like HyppTV is hacked – Read more about it here ]

2. With Android it opens up a potential , now with a web camera + wireless keyboard and mouse , entire TV + HyppTV would be a skype box. It would be easier for kids who are overseas to easily communicate with their parents. Who wouldn’t mind seeing it in the big screen ? Instagram anyone ? Put these two in it and you have it

3. Make it accessible for hackers (like myself :P). We want to explore what this little device could do – probably we would root it , install Jelly Bean and tweak it. Please do this

I see that HyppTV is heading towards the right direction – combine that with content and ASTRO would have a serious competitor . What it means for me and you – more choices , more content , lesser price. We are the winner at the end of the day when there are lot of choices for consumers